Experiment with Simulation Models in Water Resources Negotiations

By Rene Reitsma, Ilze Zigurs, Clayton Lewis, Vance Wilson and Anthony Sloane. Published in the Journal of Water Resources Management and Planning, ASCE 122:64-70, 1996.

Abstract: A laboratory experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of various kinds of access to a simulation model on water-resources negotiation outcomes and processes. The (mock) negotiation involved determining a release schedule from two reservoirs through a negotiation between subjects representing hydroelectric, agricultural, and flood-control interests. Results revealed the following: (1) The model was of only limited value in helping negotiators understand the behavior of the environmental system; (2) the model did provide assistance in finding policies that satisfied specific task constraints; (3) the availability of the model encouraged negotiators to consider more policies; and (4) the benefits of using the model directly, rather than getting access to model results produced by an assistant, were offset by the burden of direct use. The findings are evaluated in light of a growing trend in many governmental organizations to make water-resources simulation models available to stakeholders and the public at large.


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